If you run a blog or are putting out any kind of content, you probably know already how important it is for you to put this content out on a consistent basis. This is why I use a content calendar to schedule all of my content: whether it is for my blog or social media.
What is a content calendar?
A content calendar is essentially a schedule of the content you plan to put out on your blog or on social media. Traditionally, people will put all of their content ideas into a document and then choose one to write about the day they plan to publish content.
Why use a content calendar?
A content calendar is an excellent way to ensure you and your content, stays on track. Instead of scrambling for a topic to write about or scrambling for a Tweet you want to send out to the world last second, all of your content for the week, or even month, can be laid out and scheduled ahead of time.
Besides that, if you’re on a schedule, you’re more likely to stick to it. This is great for people with limited amounts of time to create content. How many times have you put off creating a blog post because you just weren’t motivated by any thing at that time?
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If you had a content calendar, you would know exactly what you were going to be writing or creating content about that day, and you’d have days leading up to it to think about and research the topic.
Having a plan, or in this case, a content calendar, creates some accountability among you and your team.
Also, blogs and websites that put out content on a regular and consistent basis, are much more likely to succeed. Think about it.
You probably visit or subscribe to blogs and websites that seem to have a strict schedule when it comes to how often they put out content. You begin to come to know what to expect and become accustomed to that publication’s regular cadence. It’s nice to read a publication when you know when their publishing next.
You don’t only need to schedule blog posts either. Content calendars can cover all content you produce. Whether it’s posts on Instagram or emails you send out to your list.
Following a strict schedule only helps you, and that’s why I love to follow and use a content calendar.
How to create a content calendar
So you have a lot of options when it comes to how you want to schedule and plan your content. To make your life super easy, I’d recommend using a tool.
The important thing however, is despite what tool you use, the tool is only as useful as the time you make for it.
When you’re first creating your content calendar, you need to have content ideas lined up to begin scheduling them into your calendar.
Once you have your content ideas, you need to begin assigning them to your team and setting a deadline for them, in order for them to be published on time.
An easy schedule to follow is to set aside the same time and day every month to create a list of content ideas and pieces of content you’d like to publish this month.
Then, every 2 weeks, maybe every other Friday, pull from this list to schedule content for the next 2 weeks.
Now that you have a process, let’s look at some of the tools that are handy for this.
The one I always recommend is Trello. It continues to be our favorite free productivity tool. With Trello, you can create a board just for your content calendar and when you create items on your board, you can assign them due dates. Using Trello’s calendar power up, we can get a nice overview of our content calendar.
Trello is also useful for creating a list of brainstormed content ideas and allow for collaboration.
The next option is to simply use Google Calendar. You’re likely already using Google Calendar anyway, why not use it to schedule your content? Create a new calendar just for your website and create events for the days you plan to schedule content. You can invite guest bloggers or team members to the event so that it appears on their calendar as well.
Google Calendar also allows you to set reminders or notifications for the scheduled content on your calendar, making it easier to stay on top of your production.
Editorial Calendar for WordPress
If you are using WordPress, there are some native ways to integrate a content calendar into your blog so that when you create drafts, they can be placed on a calendar.
One way is to get a WordPress plugin called Editorial Calendar. It’s free and allows you to drag and drop draft posts around the calendar view of all your scheduled and unscheduled posts. It’s a much more efficient way of looking at all your blog posts instead of in the traditional list.
Lastly, I will recommend CoSchedule.
CoSchedule allows you to not only schedule all your blog posts (and it integrates nicely with WordPress as well) but it also allows you to schedule your social media posts and content shares much like something like Buffer.
The nice thing about CoSchedule is that when I do schedule a blog post, I can also schedule for it to automatically share the blog post when it goes live on all my social media, as well as the follow up shares.
As you know, Twitter is pretty noisy. You need to tweet out the same link sometimes 2-3 times a day just to get it seen. CoSchedule lets you schedule not only the immediate share after a blog post is published but also the follow up shares such as a few hours later or even a few months later.
CoSchedule also shows you your “top posts” which is essentially your most shared posts on your website. Using this data, you can add your best performing posts onto your calendar to share it again on social media.
How About You?
What do you use to schedule or plan your content for your blog or website? Or do you even schedule your content? Let me know what you think. I engage and respond to all comments!